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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 6, p. 1794-1798
    Received: May 12, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Modeling Ammonia Volatilization from Biosolids Applied to Semiarid Rangeland

  1. R. D. Harmel,
  2. R. E. Zartman ,
  3. C. Mouron,
  4. D. B. Wester and
  5. R. E. Sosebee
  1. Dep. of Plant and Soil Science
    Dep. of Mathematics
    Dep. of Range and Wildlife Management, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409



One fate of N from land-applied biosolids is NH3 volatilization. This study was conducted to: (i) quantify NH3 volatilization from anaerobically digested, dewatered biosolids; and (ii) develop equations to predict volatilization losses. Ammonia was collected under natural field conditions with semi-open, dynamic collection systems. Volatilization was measured using a phenol-nitroprusside method for 210 h following biosolid applications of 0.0, 6.7, and 17.9 dry Mg ha-1. Volatilization studies using two soils (a Ustollic Calciorthid and a Ustollic Haplargid) with similar chemical properties but with different surface gravel contents were conducted under hot (20–36°C), intermediate (6–23°C), and cool (−4–14°C) temperature regimes. Volatilization followed a diurnal fluctuating pattern for both the hot and intermediate temperature regime trials and was significantly reduced 3 d after application for all trials. Cumulative volatilization losses ranged from 11.5 kg NH3-N ha-1 in the cool-season trial for the 6.7 dry Mg ha-1 application rate to 35.5 kg NH3-N ha-1 in the hot-season trial for the 17.9 dry Mg ha-1 rate. The influence of gravel content on NH3 volatilization was not statistically significant (P = 0.01). Empirical equations were developed to predict volatilization losses as a function of site- and season-specific potential evapotranspiration, biosolid NH3-N content, application rate, and time after application. The prediction equations for NH3 volatilization from applied biosolids as affected by temperature had a range of r2 values of 0.90 to 0.97.

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